Shelley Hunter bills herself as the Gift Card Girlfriend at giftcards.com. The process to get the best deal starts even before she leaves the house.
"I absolutely want people to know that gift cards are not just for gifting," she said. "They can be used to save money on the things you are already getting to buy."
To that end, she went online and bought a discounted Macy's card at giftcardgranny.com.
"So now no matter what I buy I know I've already saved 13 percent," she said. "On top of that, though, I had my Macy's coupons and I was looking for sale items. So by doing that I was able to stack my discount gift cards with sale items and with using coupons from the store as well."
While at the mall she also bought Gap gift cards because the mall was offering a special deal.
"At this mall, this is Stoneridge mall, they have a promotion right now that if you buy $150 in Gap gift cards you will get 20 percent savings in a Visa gift card back," said Hunter.
And remember -- even while standing in line at the cash register, sometimes you can buy a discounted gift card. So do that before you make your purchase, then use that card to buy your back-to-school items.